- More than 30 nationalities are among the dead
- The pilot sent out a distress call and was given clearance to return, the airline’s CEO said
- The plane crashed six minutes after departing Addis Ababa on its way to Kenya’s capital Nairobi
An Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed shortly after takeoff from Ethiopia’s capital on Sunday morning, killing all 157 on board, including four Indians, authorities said, as grieving families rushed to airports in Addis Ababa and the destination, Nairobi.
More than 30 nationalities are among the dead.
It was not immediately clear what caused the crash of the Boeing 737-8 MAX plane, which was new and had been delivered to the airline in November. The pilot sent out a distress call and was given clearance to return, the airline’s CEO told reporters.
The state-owned Ethiopian Airlines, widely considered the best-managed airline in Africa, calls itself Africa’s largest carrier and has ambitions of becoming the gateway to the continent. It is known as an early buyer of new aircraft as it assertively expands.
The airline said 149 passengers and eight crew members were thought to be on the plane.
Indians, Kenyans, Canadians, Chinese, Americans, Ethiopians, Italians, French, British, Egyptians, Slovakians and others were among the dead, said the airline’s CEO, Tewolde Gebremariam.
The plane crashed six minutes after departing Addis Ababa on its way to Kenya’s capital, plowing into the ground at Hejere near Bishoftu, or Debre Zeit, some 50 kilometers (31 miles) south of Addis Ababa, at 8:44 am.
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